A Quick Chemistry Lesson
Oxidation is perhaps the simplest wine fault to diagnose and aside wine being served at the wrong temperature, is the most common consumer complaint.
The chemical changes that follow oxygen exposure are described below and take place within just 12 to 24 hours.
- The first chemical compound formed when oxygen reacts with the ethanol in a wine is acetaldehyde. At low levels this can make a wine taste ‘flat’ and vapid, and is responsible for the loss of a wines fresh fruity taste
- Further exposure to oxygen converts the acetaldehyde into Acetic Acid, the most common of all volatile acids and one of the two, common, sour tasting carbon acids which form the main constituent of vinegar
- The final chemical change takes place long after a wine should have been discarded and that is the reaction between oxygen and the phenolics. This causes the wine to change colour moving from amber to a brackish brown.
Sparkling Wine & Champagne Preservation
To successfully preserve opened bottles of sparkling wine and champagne, two key areas have to be addressed; loss of ‘sparkle’ and oxidation. Simply replacing the bottle’s original cork with a ‘clamp effect’ stopper will do little or nothing to slow bubble loss and the wine will continue to release it’s natural carbon dioxide (CO2) until a pressure equilibrium is achieved within the bottle (and oxidation begins).
Preventing release of the naturally occurring CO2 is key to ensuring that the fizz stays locked in the wine and any issue of oxidation is eliminated.
Le Verre de Vin technology operates by introducing a precisely calibrated infusion of CO2 into a Champagne/sparkling wine bottle, thereby creating a pressure equilibrium and preventing any escape of CO2 from the wine itself. A valved stopper is placed in the bottle and clipped in place (replicating the ‘wire around the original cork); the stopper retains the CO2 under pressure within the bottle and ‘locks in’ the natural fizz. The process ensures that bubble loss is prevented and maximum preservation is achieved.
Still Wine Preservation
Wine begins to oxidise as soon as the cork is removed.
By removing the oxygen to a precisely controlled level Le Verre de Vin technology effectively preserves wine without any risk to it’s subtle structure.
Still wines preservation takes just 2 to 5 seconds (depending upon the amount of wine remaining) during which time a precisely controlled vacuum is created within the bottle. Precise control of the vacuum level is essential to ensure that the maximum period of preservation is achieved without any damage to the subtle structure of the wine. If insufficient air is removed from the bottle the wine will continue to oxidise, by removing just too much air the negative pressure will draw the delicate esters and phenols from the wine, detrimentally affecting the bouquet and ‘deadening’ the taste.